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Guitarist Searches for Tabs When Someone Requests a Steve Vai Song

Guitarist David Smash—whose YouTube moniker is Dovydas—was performing a solo gig at a brewery in Bradenton, Florida, one Tuesday night this summer.

Besides the fact that it was a slow night (his audience consisted of five people, which happens to the best of us), everything was going along just fine—until someone threw him a curve ball and requested a Steve Vai song. The song in question is "Tender Surrender," a track from 1995's Alien Love Secrets.

We'll let Smash take it from here:

"I was doing my live looping improvisation show," he says. "One lady was cracking jokes in between songs, and then she threw out the most unexpected request I've ever received. I usually don't include audience interactions in my videos, but this was so rare and funny I just had to keep it in."

Instead of giving up, Smash scrambled and seriously thought it through; he searched for tabs online and played his own version of the classic Vai tune. You can watch it unfold below; below that, you'll find a live performance of the song by Vai (for a bit of context). Enjoy!

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.